The American World Cup team's historic fail-forward loss to Germany last week means that many will keep their attention on the game when America plays Belgium this Tuesday. Football fans say this World Cup is the best ever. And, it’s not just Brazil’s national sport that is gaining popularity, Americans are getting a kick out of South American foods and beverages.
Restaurants are in full swing as soccer fans look for the perfect place to watch the games. South American restaurants report strong sales since the World Cup began. “We have seen a notable increase in popularity and intrigue of South American food, which we believe can be attributed to the strong influence of the World Cup,” says Christina Nguyen, Director of Marketing for Texas de Brazil. “We have seen fans, who did not make it to the games, still seeking to experience the South American culture by indulging in the food and libations.” And it’s not just eat in, sales on take out order are up too, says Nguyen. For at-home World Cup parties, Texas de Brazil is helping American fans stay in the game with 20% discount off on takeout orders.
American’s love affair with grilled meats goes hand-in-hand with churrasco, South America’s best known fare. Churrasco is a Portuguese and Spanish word for grilled meats. Restaurants typically served them on yard-long skewers in all-you-can eat fashion, better known as rodizio style. Servers, dressed like traditional gauchos, carve off thin slivers of beef, lamb, pork and sausages on to your plate.
Even though Brazilian and South Americans love their meat, the cuisine is widely diverse and is heavily influenced by its history. South American cuisine includes a concoction of indigenous foods, as well as foods introduce by Spanish conquerors, African slavery, Chinese laborers and post World War II immigration from Europe. Indigenous foods include corn, sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, chiles, avocados, chocolate, yucca and peanuts. Over time, Europeans introduced meats, poultry and Spanish fare to the local cuisines.
Restaurant experts expect to see more South American flavors on menus this year, according to a culinary trends report from Packaged Facts Magazine. Americans are looking for new foods to satisfy their desire for hot and spicy, as well as healthy and nutritious. “The American palate is now more open than ever to bolder flavors and food experiences that replicate trips abroad,” says Rick Zambrano, the food research editor of the Culinary Trend Tracking Series (CuTTs) report.
Look for these South American foods on bar and food menus:
1. Aji Amarillo Peppers: The Pervuvian hot-yellow pepper is a must for Huancaina sauce, a Peruvian cheese sauce for potatoes. It’s fast becoming a hot flavor for chips and other snacks.
2. Purple corn and purple potato: These spuds are popular for their authenticity and for their non-GMO status.
3. Pichuberry: Also known as the Cape Gooseberry, is showing up in drinks, cereals, confections and desserts.
4. Pisco: A wine brandy is a mixologists' friend for Pisco Sours.
5. Feijoada: Every Brazilian family has their own recipe. EAch recipe is reflective of the country’s melting pot history and is heavily influenced by its African heritage and is made from black beans and smoked sausage.